Hazel’s Theory of Evolution    

“Hazel’s Theory of Evolution,” by Chicago-based author Lisa Jenn Bigelow, starts with a train. A train schedule, to be more precise. Hazel Brownlee-Wellington had always gone to Osterhout Middle School, together with her best friend, Becca. But when the train company...

Amy McDougall, Master Matchmaker

It’s easy to overlook small publishers; they haven’t got the marketing resources to help their books leap out in front of readers. Today I’m spotlighting a book from one of these small but mighty publishers, Fitzroy Books.   “Amy McDougall, Master Matchmaker,” by...

Unlucky Stars? Depends on Your View…

The flap copy of Gillian McDunn’s latest, “These Unlucky Stars,” intrigued me because the main character didn’t feel like she fit in with the rest of her family, but I didn’t expect to be sucked in so quickly.  The story starts like this: “You can measure how lucky...

Looking Back, Looking Forward

December 2023 As the holiday season approaches I’m determined to be chill and not too wound up about everything having to be perfect. This plan involves lots of deep breathing and getting enough sleep.   Also, what will 2024 bring? On a personal level, can I set...

Here in the Real World; “Lucky” to be Raising an Artist

I confess that I often get choked up when reading novels for young readers. But reading Sara Pennypacker’s latest novel, “Here in the Real World,” was the first time I remember actually bursting into tears.  Ware is an introvert. He knows that his parents wish he...